Thursday, January 12, 2012

Retail Sales Growth Moderated In December

Retail sales grew by just 0.1% in December, the slowest rate since May, according to a Census Bureau report released this morning. The continued slow-down in December suggests the holiday season was not particularly strong. Despite the slow-down, growth has been strong in the past few months. November growth was revised upwards to 0.4%, from 0.2%, and both October and September experienced strong growth.

Growth in December occurred in autos, furniture, and building material areas, all posting 1% or better growth. Building material stores were the biggest winners in December posting growth of 1.6%. Electronics, gasoline stations, and other general merchandise stores led the declines.

Year-over-year growth has now fallen to 6.5%, the lowest level since August 2010. The year-over-year growth is being led by nonstore retailers. Gasoline and auto sales have also improved significantly over the year, but gasoline sales will deteriorate as gasoline prices were rising quickly at this time last year. Department stores are the only major segment reporting sales below their year-ago level in December, while electronics and appliance stores were in effect unchanged.

Read the report.

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